Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two Essential Ingredients: Phonics and Fluency Getting to Know Each Other

Rasinski T.V., Rupley, W.H., Nichols, W.D. (2008). Two Essential Ingredients: Phonics and Fluency Getting to Know Each Other, The Reading Teacher, 62(3), 257-260. DOI:10.1598/RT.62.3.7

The authors believe that phonics and fluency are two main ingredients in teaching reading. That together they provide a powerful tool for increasing comprehension and reading achievement. While often considered distinct, the authors believe that they should be combined during the reading process. Rhyming poetry is seen as one answer. Using word families (rimes) readers are able to apply their knowledge to other words with the same spelling pattern. These patterns are then generalized to other identical spelling patterns and increase their ability to decode words. Since repeated readings have been shown to increase word recognition, fluency, and comprehension, poetry is a natural choice. They are usually short, rhythmic, and fun.

Instructions on how to teach using poetry to spice up phonics and reading instruction are included. Beginning with identifying the word family, working with the word family, and follow-up activities. Poetry is seen as a positive way to allow students to “develop mastery of the word families both in and out of context, and it promotes fluency through repeated and assisted readings.” (259)

“How should they be taught in ways that are natural, authentic, synergistic, effective, and engaging?” (257)

“An abundance of evidence has shown that students engaged in repeated readings are more accurate in their word recognition, read more rapidly with expression and comprehension, and are more confident as readers.” (258)

“What kinds of activities are best suited for engaging students in purposeful reasons to participate eagerly in repeated readings or rehearsal? One answer is to perform for an audience.” (258)

“Both repeated oral reading of texts (rehearsal) and teachers modeling fluent reading – and supporting students while reading orally by reading with them – have been identified as key methods for teaching reading fluency.” (258)

“Moreover, research has begun to show that the use of rhyming poetry on a regular basis, whether in school or at home, can have a significant and positive impact on students’ word recognition and reading fluency.” (259)

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